A couple of comments regarding your post:
There is no official strategy from BA, nor press releases or anything, regarding their route plans for South America.
True. However, a simple inspection of BA
's worldwide network, and a consequent comparison with what they currently have left in terms of presence, specifically, in South America, will tell that BA
has long been focusing towards a big-time yield extraction, tightly related with premium product offer/demand, in markets that have simply proven better.
I have heard that the loads and yields on that route were good
A thousand and one comments about the route performance were made, most
of them pointing out that loads
were good, but yields
pretty much weak, specially passenger-wise. Many day-by-day conversations [based on personal expierences mostly] gave credits to Bogota as the responsible for most of the route's traffic. Nothing official, yet I tend to strongly believe in both cases, specially the one noting mediocre yield performance, which can easily explain why they're leaving.
I believe that perhaps Bogotá alone would have been successful
Maybe Marcos, but there's more to it...
offered a thrice weekly service, when most European airlines flying to either Bogota or Caracas provide a daily service, or at least, a much more frequent operation. I know, this aspect would have further hurt the route performance if the dominant traffic was business instead of leisure, but still, for starters they're in a clear disadvantage.
, unlike AF
[which is the second strongest player in the region] has a rather unflexible fleet to meet the conditions given by different markets/destinations. They are keen in filling the premium classes, and let's face it, for a significant amount of passengers generated both in my country and in Venezuela, premium-economy is enough of a product in order to satisfy their expectations of luxury-class. Needless to say that Club World, much less First, were products that were simply not going to be popular, especially in Bogotá.
Even if Bogota was performing acceptably, this fact was strongly clouded by Caracas' conditions. If I'm not mistaken they had a F/A base in Caracas and rotated crews there, not
in Bogota, and this, added to Bogota's hot-and-[very]high conditions versus BA
's fleet status, made the stop in Caracas more vital even if they didn't want to.
Add to all this, the clear inconvinience in BA
's scheduled, they offered extremely late departure from Caracas around midnight, and a lousy afternoon arrival to Heathrow; while the other European majors depart Caracas [and Bogota] around the late afternoon allowing an early arrival to their hubs. All this scene became even more obsolete knowing Heathrow's geographical position for connections against Paris or Madrid.
And as if it weren't enough, they never got the 5th freedom rights between Caracas and Bogota.
Believe me, it's sad to see BA
leaving from Colombia, and Venezuela at that, but it isn't one bit surprising when looking to it thoroughly, and 757MDE can give credit to that [and our MSN
conversations about the topic]
Now let's sit and wait until somebody fills in the void.
[Edited 2005-02-07 05:41:09]